Service Dog Training

This site has not been particularly active, but there is a continuing and increasing interest in training dogs and service dogs in particular. So, we wanted to start posting additional materials and look for people who will do an initial socialization and training for dogs. We are not limited to service dogs, but will assist with training of family dogs and comfort dogs.  So please take a moment to read this—you’ll find it interesting. Then contact us with any ideas or suggestions you might have.
This organization is involved in locating, placing and training dogs, including assistance dogs for the disabled, especially disabled military veterans.  There is a huge demand and not enough dogs. Compounding the problem is that, after being trained and placed, some dogs do not work out well.  We want to reduce that failure rate with a careful initial evaluation.  We would like to hire some persons to work with initial socialization and training and are willing to compensate them for their efforts. This is briefly explained below.
A primary need we have is to locate dogs of a proper temperament that would be suitable for service dog training.  One of the most important aspects of the initial evaluation and training program is to get dogs that will become accustomed to public places, especially when there are many strange people, noises, and smells.  Remaining calm and easily controlled in a strange environment is of crucial importance, but some dogs never quite master it. 
Strange people and constant activities tend to distract dogs, some more than others, and this needs to be evaluated for suitability of the potential service dog.  If you are interested, we would like to retain you and some people you might recommend to work with untrained dogs to acclimate them to going into strange public places, such as hotel lobbies, restaurants, gas stations, office buildings, and anywhere else where strangers would be present, along with strange noises, smells, etc. All too many dogs are kept in homes or back yards and behave poorly when taken into noisy, busy places.  Most dogs improve considerably with frequent exposure to public places, so it is important that the dogs are taken out several times each week.  Often all that is needed are frequent activities, since the dog’s behavior improves as soon as it becomes accustomed to being around strange people and new places.   
One thing we want to do is to get video recordings of activities with the dogs.  This can help show potential clients how the dog reacted, and it can help in giving some tips on dog handling.  This is important, since many people do not know the basics of dog handling, such as maintaining firm but gentle control.  It is surprising how many people do not know simple training techniques such as to simply stop and stand still for a full minute or so, giving the dog time to get bored and calm down.  This really works.  Many dogs pull, and standing still for a minute is a good way to train the dog that pulling does not get anywhere.  There are many other simple tips that we will mention as the basic training begins.  A person does not have to be an accomplished dog trainer to understand and use simple techniques like these.
A cell phone can be used to record video; it can be simply hung around the neck or put in a shirt pocket. Although these videos will probably be of poor quality, they will still help demonstrate simple ways to improve dog handling.  These videos can also be valuable in helping you improve training techniques, and to show potential clients the efforts this program takes in selecting the dogs that might be acceptable candidates for later service dog training.  Please be assured that the video recordings are private information. They will not be retained but will be erased after they are needed.  Generally speaking, almost all video recordings are erased within a few days, but rest assured they are confidential and will not be disclosed without your permission.
Although socialization and evaluation of the dog is the primary goal, that is not all.  It would be valuable too if you or others could do some basic training in simple commands such as sit, down, come, and stay. How quickly the dogs learn these commands helps in the initial evaluation process.  The most important thing is to simply get the dogs used to being calm and controlled in public areas, and not to sniff people or food.  Much of the initial training and evaluation can be done without the presence of the client, since the dogs will first be going through the evaluation process to see if the dog is an acceptable candidate to enter service dog training. 
If you care to spread the word, we are interested in acquiring large dogs (over 40 pounds or so) that have initial training and the temperament to enter more advanced training, including assistance dog training.  We will evaluate all dogs that are referred and decide if the dog might ultimately become a good assistance animal.  It does not matter who refers the dogs, since it is the dog we are interested in and will evaluate.  Of course we are willing to pay for the dog and the work done by the trainers. Videos of the dogs at public places can be helpful in this evaluation process.  There is a tremendous demand for well-trained dogs, including service dogs. This organization has plans to greatly expand nationwide and we need acceptable dogs in order to do this. 
Even if the dog is not accepted into assistance dog training, the work with the dog will be helpful in placing the dog in a family.  Simple basic training is very important to a family thinking of getting a dog. Too many dogs are kept at home or in back yards, and behave quite poorly when taken into noisy, smelly, or busy places.  If anyone you know is interested, we can be contacted at the email address on this website and will be happy to forward further information.

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